Why do I sound better a low volumes?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by timmyc, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. timmyc


    Nov 29, 2005
    When I play a low volumes in my room the tone I get is really awesome but as soon as I start to turn it up a bit then it gets lost. I play through an Ashdown MAG 300H, MAG 210 and MAG 115 - the head is rated at 307 watts and the Cabs at 250, 8 ohms each. I think it might have a lot to do with headroom, because as soon I start to push more watts through my cabs they just can't handle producing the same quality tone - is this right? Would I need a higher rating cab setup to get a better tone at higher levels then?

  2. it has to do w/ frequency amplification
    usually I feel I sound better at lower volumes as well... it usually has to do with my less then phenomenal playing.
    at lower volumes, you primarily hear the lower frequencies, while the high's just aren't quite amplified enough to be audible... or audible enough to amplify all the finger noise and other nuances that can create what your describing.

    try this:
    do you have a fan/air cooling appliance in your room?... put it on, then play.
    you'll sound better.
    the fan noise cancels out the higher frequencies and you hear primarily lower frequencies, thus sounding better.

    at least this is the case with me :)
  3. IvanMike

    IvanMike TTRPG enthusiast, Happy, Joyous, & Free. Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    well, that can be very complex and members such as billfitzmaurice would be able to go into the technical details in far greater detail than i but................

    In my experience cabinets can sound very differnt depending upon how loud you play/how many watts you put into them. I have found that at lower wattages/volume level per cabinet you get a more open and articulate sound, while at higher wattage/volume level per cabinet/driver you get a fuller thicker sound, but it's not quite as articulate.

    Much of this has to do with the physics of loudspeakers. At different power levels a speaker will respond differently over the frequency range. Also, after about half of a speakers rated power the ratio of power converted to sound vs converted to heat changes even more in favor of heat.

    Personally, I like both tones, just for different applications. Sometimes i dig the sound of one cab having the crap kicked out of it, other times i perfer the sound of multiple drivers, none of which is being worked too hard.

    ah just thought of this. you might want to google the fletcher munson curves. this has to do with how well humans hear over the frequency range at different volumes. Oddly enough in your case, things tend to sound better to us at higher volumes we tend to hear more evenly over the frequency range at higher (within reason) volumes, whereas at lower volumes we hear the midrange well, but no the highs and lows so much.
  4. i might add that simply turning down the treble knob doesn't do quite the same as some good ol' fan or air conditioner noise.
  5. I'd first try a higher wattage amplifier whilst remembering that amps, speakers and ears will all distort sound.

  6. +1 I agree with everything said!

    I guess I was thinking more of a extremely low volume vs. moderate but still (bedroom) volume levels.

    not necessarily pushing cabs to there limit levels...
  7. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger

    Feb 21, 2006
    Boise, ID, USA
    Either that, or you could re-EQ.

    Sometimes, what sounds good at low levels doesn't sound as great at high levels, so you may need to adjust accordingly. In particular, if your lows are cranked at low volumes, it may not sound as well when you crank the master volume. Try rolling back some settings and boosting others when cranking the volume!

    More headroom or higher-wattage speakers/amps can help as well :D
  8. timmyc


    Nov 29, 2005
    Cool thanks guys.

    IvanMike I checked out that thing in google and came out with this:


    So that basically means at lower levels I am hearing a slightly more scooped sound then when it is cranked? If so I will try and play with the eq a bit like MysticBoo suggested.
  9. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    How many watts should I look for? I would think a window unit would be nearly portable to each gig and could fit on top of my rig. It would also be cool. Then I would be cool. It's a plan.
  10. tjh


    Mar 22, 2006
    generally as my volume goes up ... my lower freq eq starts getting cut ... plus remember, acoustics play a great deal in what we hear, so your little bedroom is going to be much better suitied for the lower volumes ... you get your Mag out in a larger open room with decent acoustics, and there is a pretty good chance you will be able to recoup the sound that you liked at a higer volume setting ... that Mag is a great little amp, even though I just sold one, I always liked the warm tone ... however, it did sound best keeping it at or under about12:00 ... also, as mentioned, the louder you play, the more your technique flaws come out ... I know mine sure do ... was quite a wake up call
  11. danis


    Jun 7, 2005
    In lower volumes we can hear more the mids,that's why we tend to boost the highs and the lows.In high volumes our hearing is flatter.
    Correct me someone if i am wrong.

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